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Sphinn Guidelines

Sphinn is a news and discussion site about Internet marketing. Everything else is off-topic and will be removed from the site.

Sphinn welcomes news tips and discussions from members who'd like to suggest articles or topics that are deserving of being published on our home page. We also welcome comments on the stories and discussions that do get published. In order to maintain quality across Sphinn's news and discussions, we have a variety of rules concerning member contributions to the site, whether in the form of news tips, discussions, or comments.

The Basic Common Sense Law

Please read these guidelines before submitting a news tip or discussion topic to Sphinn. Keep in mind that Sphinn reserves the right to remove any content or any user from the site, even if an exact rule isn't itemized here. This is called our "Basic Common Sense" law, where we expect our members to use common sense that what they are doing on Sphinn is in the best interests of the community. For example, you might ask yourself:

Am I tipping Sphinn's editors to a high quality piece of content that others will learn from or find interesting?

Am I tipping something that's not simply a rehash of news already out there, or that doesn't add further information?

Am I tipping something that's actually a sales pitch for a product or service disguised as news?

Am I starting a discussion that can benefit many Sphinn members?

Keep these ideas in mind as you read our specific rules below.

User Accounts

1. Sphinn allows one account per person. Multiple accounts registered by the same person will be terminated.

2. Please ensure that both your username and your avatar are tasteful. Sphinn staff have final say over what's tasteful and what isn't.

3. Using copyrighted images as avatars on Sphinn is prohibited.

4. Custom badges/avatars that imitate those issued to Editors and Admins are not allowed.

5. New user accounts are restricted as follows: Due to the large amount of spam that we receive, the first submission from new accounts will be held for additional manual review by our moderators prior to being considered for publishing on our home page.

News Tip Do's

You can tip Sphinn's editors to noteworthy articles/content by using the "Submit News Tip" link on the top navigation bar. Sphinn members are limited to submitting one news tip per day. You can also submit a news tip via Twitter: Include "tip @sphinn" in your tweet and our editors will review the link you've shared. All tips should meet the following guidelines.

1. On-Topic: News tips must be related to the Internet marketing industry and submitted to the most relevant topic category.

2. Timely: Tips must be of a unique, fresh piece of relevant content written/created in the past 14 days. Old articles/content will not be published unless they're of exceptional quality (and have somehow gone unnoticed by the greater online community). Tips with no date will almost always be ignored.

3. Original: Our database usually identifies attempts to tip a story that's already in our system. In cases where the URL is slightly different, and you tip us to a story that's in our system under a different URL, Sphinn editors will discard the duplicate submission.

4. High Quality: Sphinn seeks to publish articles/content that contain unique and valuable content. We will not publish any content which is deemed to be re-written, reprinted, poor quality or of no value. We will not accept tips of stories that are considered to be grossly inaccurate. Note: It's OK to tip us to a story even if another story on the same topic has already been published -- as long as the story you're tipping is unique enough to add value and bring forward new insight and discussion points. If the story adds nothing new about a particular issue, we will ignore the tip.

5. Non-Promotional: Articles/content that are considered to be overly promotional and/or sales-oriented will be ignored. This includes, but is not limited to, articles with affiliate links, submissions that promote products or services, and so forth. Note: Members may tip us to their own news stories, although this must be done with consideration for the rest of the community. Users who only tip their own stories may be considered to be spamming, and their accounts may be closed.

News Tip Don'ts

Sphinn users should not tip...

1. home pages and site categories. The URL tipped must consist of a page showing a single news story or piece of content.

2. audio, video, and slideshow content without a transcript. If tipping us to non-text content, the content should also be accompanied by a text-based summary of the main points or an exact transcript.

3. stories with URLs using a short URL service. For example, http://bit.ly, http://tinyurl.com, etc.

4. articles that include special URLs or tracking code just for Sphinn.

5. stories with the blog name, category, or other slogans in the title. Remove these while completing the tip form. This will make the headline cleaner and easier to read.

6. articles written in any language other than English. We cannot currently support or moderate other languages, so these tips will be ignored. Sphinn Japan welcomes submissions written in Japanese or for the Japanese audience.

7. via an auto-submitter or other automated software. We expect all of your contributions to Sphinn to be done with a human touch.

8. press releases. In almost all cases, press releases will be ignored. Better to write an article or blog post and tip us to that.

9. attack/shame stories. Sphinn is not the place to wage reputation management battles. We may ignore any tip that attacks or shames another party. Exceptions might be made in cases when there's significant value in the submission. Our editors have final say over what constitutes "significant value."

"Sphinn Zone" Category

The "Sphinn Zone" category allows for some off-topic conversations, such as industry jokes, sarcasm, and posts about an internet marketer's birthday, wedding, baby, anniversary, etc. These posts must still have a connection to Internet marketing.

Discussions

Many of the same "News Tip Dos" also apply to starting discussions on Sphinn. Discussion ideas submitted to Sphinn should be:

1. On-Topic: Discussions must be related to the Internet marketing industry and submitted to the most relevant topic category.

2. Timely: Due to the difference between a discussion and a news tip, Sphinn Editors will be somewhat less concerned with the timeliness of discussion topics. For example, a discussion about ranking trends you've seen over the past year might be very interesting. On the other hand, a discussion about the demise of AltaVista is probably unnecessary at this point.

3. Original: Before starting a new discussion, please use the search box in the upper right corner of our site to look for previous discussions that are similar to what you plan to submit.

4. High Quality: Although no one can predict the response that a discussion topic will get, our editors will strive to publish topics that we think will be of interest to many Sphinn members. We'll look for questions and ideas that might provoke an interesting discussion and ignore discussions that are unlikely to add value to our members' experience on Sphinn each day.

5. Non-Promotional: Discussion ideas that are considered to be overly promotional and/or sales-oriented will be ignored.

Comments

Registered members are able to leave comments on published stories and discussion topics, and can vote up/down on comments posted by other members. Please read and understand the following guidelines about commenting.

1. Just as you would in a face-to-face situation, be polite and respectful when communicating on Sphinn. We understand that people are passionate about their work, but personal attacks, bullying, aggressive swearing and other anti-social behavior is not allowed.

2. Only post a link in your comment if it directly relates to the story/discussion. Signature links and unrelated self-promotion can result in comment removal and a warning, suspension, or possibly a ban.

3. Please write your comments directly into the comments form provided, or in a plain text editor such as Notepad. Cutting and pasting content from web pages and Microsoft Word can often result in formatting issues and invalid characters.

4. Be constructive in your comments and offer your own opinions. ("Nice article" comments add no value and can irritate other members.)

Final Note

Some issues are still considered on a case-by-case basis and Sphinn reserves the right to take actions outside of these guidelines, if we feel that it would benefit the community and/or site as a whole.

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